A transgender Salvador was killed despite a long search for safety

San Miguel, El Salvador (AP) — The family rejected The Seedsley del Sid Velázquez fled a coastal village in 2014. This was the first of a series of displacements throughout El Salvador. She wanted to live in the big city of San Miguel as a transgender woman without discrimination or violence, where she was threatened by a gangster.

She left San Miguel and then returned again in a series of forced moves, but on April 25, a 27-year-old girl was shot dead and the close LGBTQ community of San Miguel, the largest city in eastern El Salvador. Shocked me.

“The Sea was desperate. Venus Nolasco, director of San Miguel’s LGBTQ group Pearls of the East, said her family didn’t want her because of her sexual orientation and was threatened by gangsters. I was there. ” They go to the United States to escape the country, but they are shot in her lungs and kill her. “

The day after the killing of Del Sid, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said in a virtual meeting with neighboring Guatemala President Alejandro Jamatti that anti-LGBTQ violence in Central America was one of the root causes of migration in the region. Pointed out. She plans to visit Guatemala and Mexico this week.

Transgender immigrants have been in Central American caravans in recent years trying to reach the US border, fleeing police indifference to harassment, gang blackmail, murder, and crimes against them. Even those large-scale immigrant movements. , They say they faced harassment.

The situation was turbulent during the first stint at Del Sid’s San Miguel. She and Nolasco, like many parts of the country, lived in areas where the MS-13 gang was the ultimate municipality. Members of the gang began to harass her, then brutally beat her and broke her arm in 2015, Nolasco said.

“They warned her to leave, but she didn’t listen,” Nolasco said.

Instead of leaving, Delsid moved with Nolasco in the same neighborhood. One day, the gang caught Del Sid again.

“They wanted to take her and kill her,” Nolasco said. “I asked them not to kill her, let her go, and she would leave the neighborhood.”

Delsid returned to his hometown, but was rejected again by his family. She tried to please them, but couldn’t, Nolasco said. Del Sid joined the church, had a girlfriend, had a girl, but couldn’t sustain her life. T.

She returned to San Miguel, but at first the situation seemed to improve. In 2020, Delsid received humanitarian and housing assistance from the national LGBTQ rights organization COMCAVIS TRANS and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Delsid rented a house and opened a beauty salon there. She hired another woman to help and participate in an entrepreneurship program. She was preparing a business proposal to move the salon from her home to another space.

However, Del Sid was shot in the back walking alone at night. A passerby tried to help her and took her to a local hospital, but she died. So far, police have not been arrested, and Nolasco, like other hate crimes in the country, “will be forgotten. They are not interested in what happens to us.”

Laura Almiral, UNHCR representative in El Salvador, said the killing of Del Sid scared her community and saddened everyone who knew her.

“She was excited about her new plans and new life, and unfortunately it’s all over,” she said.

In San Miguel, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) east of the capital, Nolasco says the transgender community has endured constant harassment from intolerant residents and gangsters. They are thrown rocks, beaten and coerced. If you call the police, you will be insulted and de de de defeated. “Don’t come here to claim your rights. You have no rights,” police told them, Nolasco said.

The “Pearl of the East” group has a parade corps in which Del Sid participated. Initially it was around 50, but crime and forced evacuation have reduced it to 35, Nolasco said.

“No one protects us here,” Nolasco said.

Bianka Rodríguez, director of COMCAVIS TRANS, said transgender displacement in El Salvador is increasing year by year. Despite the existence of laws to protect those who have lost their place of residence due to violence, she said it was not effective.

According to a report produced by the organization, nearly two-thirds of violence against LGTBQ communities is due to gangsters, with government officials accounting for an additional 21%. According to a survey, more than 600 LGBTQ people have been killed since 1993 in El Salvador, which has a population of only 6.5 million.

They recorded 84 internally displaced persons in 2019, and another eight were deported, but were deported and needed protection.

“Unfortunately, (multiple refugees) have been forced to evacuate not only the LGBTI community, but also thousands of people in El Salvador due to gang violence, said Almiral, UNHCR representative. ..

“Although she was forced to evacuate many times in this country, she finally got a new life project and became part of the community, all suddenly and very tragicly. “, Said Almiral.


Christopher Sherman, an AP writer in Mexico City, contributed to this report.